There are places to which one simple visit is not enough; places that ensnare the senses and enthrall the spirit with a come-hither aura. The Faerie Ring in Harbour Grace is one such location and I’ve been itching for a chance to go back again (I visited last fall) with my new camera, a wide-angle lens, sufficient time and fewer distractions. My chance arose the other day when necessity dictated a business trip to Carbonear and Harbour Grace.
Not being one to pass up a gift horse by peering into its gaping jaw, I grabbed the camera gear and jumped on the opportunity with considerable alacrity.
The trick to revisiting places is always to attempt different photos from the last shoot. I make exceptions for certain cases, of course, because occasionally it’s possible to take the same shot again, but under different conditions or (frankly) while doing a better job.
The wide-angle lens proved to be a suitable choice for these shots. Quite apart from the fact that the Tokina 11-16 gives me the ability to take in much more tree at close quarters, it is also damned fine glass and produces beautiful results. My photos from the fall were good, but I’m much happier with these results. The tripod helped considerably as well.
I’ve taken to using a tripod for most of my really good shots, for a few reasons. Firstly, it gives me more options insofar as shutter speeds are concerned, particularly when creating landscapes. The longer the exposure I can squeak out, the smaller an aperture I can use to better (generally) the overall effect.
The second reason is quite practical; it effectively gives me a second set of hands to hold the camera in place. One less thing to hold on to makes life considerably easier.
Finally, and this factor stems from the second, it slows me down. Because I’m not juggling as many things in my hands and trying to hold the photo framed manually, I can slow down, check the settings, adjust things that need adjusting and make changes systematically. I am by nature an impatient person and anything that either allows or forces me to work methodically is a Good Thing.
Having talked to a few people about this site, I was able to get snippets of information. It is very, very old and one old fellow speculated that it was a grave site. Someone else told me they thought it was a witch’s grave, but I suspect that has more to do with the whole idea of the often malicious nature of fairies in Newfoundland. Given that Harbour Grace is one of the oldest substantial settlements in Newfoundland, there would have been graveyards available quite early on. If it’s a grave, it would be unhallowed ground. It could be an animal’s grave, given that it’s on a farm, but that’s pure speculation on my part.
The site is considered unlucky by older locals, but also holds a strange fascination for them.They tell me to avoid it at night and not to bring young children there or the fairies will “get them.”
Fairies in Newfoundland can apparently be deterred by wearing one’s underwear inside out and carrying a crust of bread in the pocket, according to my daughter’s friend Jasper (aged 9). He says it has worked for him so far. I asked what he was doing, letting fairies look down his pants.
The old farm that stands near the ring is as fascinating as the ring itself. I would be curious to know how old the house and stone foundation of the barn are. The shape of the cottage makes me think mid-to-late 1800s, but I could be way off.
And just for effect, I fiddled around with black and white on one image:
I think it would be a particularly eerie place at night….